Duterte warns of "copycat" Marcos martial law
President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday slammed the Supreme Court justices who have been questioning the factual basis of his declaration of martial law in the whole of Mindanao due to the Marawi crisis.
While he would obey the high court should it decide that state of martial is not needed in Mindanao, the Chief Executive, however, warned that he would not hesitate to declare a "copycat" martial rule of late President Ferdinand Marcos if "anything goes wrong" again in the region or anywhere in the Philippines.
He said there were those who were saying that the Marawi crisis is only a terrorism problem and not a rebellion.
"They committed the crime of rebellion and there is the flag of ISIS. If that is not enough, what is it?" he said in a media interview during his visit at the 4th Infantry Division Advance Command Post in Butuan City.
The ISIS-linked Maute Terror Group attacked and started occupying Marawi on May 23, prompting Duterte to place the entire Mindanao under martial law.
"The terrorists are committing rebellion, the rebels are committing rebellion. How do you view this? What do you want? That they burn half of Mindanao before we can call it a true-blue rebellion? It's crazy," he said.
Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, during an oral argument regarding the petition against martial law, questioned the basis of declaring martial rule in other parts of Mindanao.
He has said that presence of rebellion could be defended easily in Marawi, but not outside the city.
Maute's invasion and rebellion were Duterte's bases for declaring martial law in Mindanao.
"The non-believers, because they are really on the opposite side, whatever the reason may be, it could be a cold-bullet thing for them. But in the altar of politics, for them what the government has been doing is wrong," Duterte said.
"So if the Supreme Court will say we are wrong, then okay, I will withdraw (the government forces)," he said.
But he added, "if anything goes wrong," he would again declare martial law and he would not listen to others anymore.
"(I)f that rebellion burns Mindanao and the other parts of the Philippines, and I will be forced to declare martial law again, this time, I will do it on my own to preserve my nation. I will not consult anybody and there is no telling when it will end. Then it could be a copycat of Marcos," he stressed.
Marcos placed the whole country under martial law from 1972 until early 1980's. During the period, there were recorded thousands cases of human rights abuses.
While there is no decision yet from the high court rejecting martial law, Duterte said the state of martial law in Mindanao would not end until he is satisfied or "we are satisfied that not a single shot will be ever fired again. And all the arms that was recovered, I want a bulldozer to run over them in front of them (Maranao leaders)."
According to the President, one of the problems of the security forces in Marawi is the endless arms and bullets of the militants.
"Where did they get it? Well, most of them are taking from the politicians who provided the money. But what fuelled the war in Marawi is the drug money of the Maute," he said. Ella Dionisio/DMS